Creating the Best YouTube Graphics
YouTube is a powerhouse not only in social media, but on the internet as a whole. Here are a few tips on how to get the best YouTube graphics for your channel.
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YouTube is one of the most popular platforms in the world. In 2021 there were about 2.6 billion active monthly users. With gigantic numbers such as these, it’s no wonder that the competition is cutthroat. That’s why YouTube graphics are so important in creating and retaining an audience. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
At the first glance, one could assume there’s little graphic design involved in creating a YouTube channel. But, they would be sorely mistaken. The first contact a user has with the platform is via thumbnails.
There are also channel pages that need to reflect the overall idea and goal of the channel. If it is a lifestyle/vlog channel, pastels and floral imagery are the go-to.
Creating a visually appealing and functional YouTube channel can be a bit of a challenge, but it’s the cornerstone of succeeding on the platform.
How to create YouTube graphics?
There are many platforms for creating visuals, and there are limitless possibilities. To find one that best suits your needs, you’ll have to do a bit of research and try out as many as you can.
Fortunately, a great number of design tools are beginner-friendly, such as Canva or SketchUp. If you have a penchant for art and design, creating your youtube graphics can be a perfect choice. That way you’ll have the exact graphics you need and want.
If you’re not artistically inclined or don’t have the time to create your visuals, working with a designer is always an option. Just make sure to have good communication with the designer and be clear on what you want from them.
What are some YouTube graphics?
Creating visuals for your YouTube channel isn’t dissimilar to creating a brand identity. You want all the elements to work off each other and form one cohesive look. Clashing graphics look unprofessional and can damage your brand.
YouTube graphics can be broadly categorized into two groups. But, these two groups often influence each other, and change as the channel evolves. As with any brand, a YouTube channel is a living thing, and staying the same is neither advisable nor possible.
YouTube channel graphics
The first big group is channel graphics. Channel graphics are the images and visuals that show up on your YouTube channel page. Those include banners and icons.
Banners are often the first thing users see on a channel page. So, it makes sense that that image tells a story. It should introduce and give context to all other elements of the channel.
For example, a gaming channel could feature contrasting tones, such as black and neons to follow a cyberpunk aesthetic prevalent among these kinds of channels.
Beauty and lifestyle channels often go for neutral and pastel color schemes, with the main creator front and center. One of the best examples of this is the iconic Jonathan Van Ness, beauty and haircare expert, and Game of Thrones commentator extraordinaire. With gorgeous fashion shots, the channel’s idea and vibe are visible from the start.
On the other hand, company channels often use their imagery, such as color palettes and logos to create a cohesive look with their overall brand identity.
However, it’s not enough to slap your logo on a white banner and call it a day. Banners appear differently on various devices. Therefore, your logo banner could be perfectly visible on a desktop and lost on a mobile app.
So, you must make sure that your YouTube banner size is compatible with TVs, mobile devices as well as computer screens.
Icons are the second major element of a channel page. Your YouTube icon is the equivalent of a profile picture on other social media platforms. By default, the icon is your Google account profile picture, but you can change it.
As we’ve said, company channels often make their logo their YouTube icon. This makes sense, both from a branding and business perspective. Your logo is your most recognizable and valuable branding asset.
If you’re creating a lifestyle, book, fitness, or even craft channel, your options are virtually limitless. You can design your own channel logo which will give your channel a beautiful and polished personal touch.
Creating a YouTube logo icon can be done on almost any graphic design platform. Logos generally fit well into the small circular space, and there are all kinds of creative ideas for an eye-catching icon.
But, logos aren’t the be-all of YouTube icons. There are many different options and finding the one that best suits your channel’s identity should be a priority.
The main creator’s face can also be a good option, just make sure to take pictures from lots of angles so that you can find the one that fits best within the limited space of the icon. YouTube icon size is about 800x800 pixels, and the accepted formats are, like for almost all YouTube visuals, JPG, PNG, GIF, and BMP.
YouTube video graphics
The other big group is video graphics. These include thumbnails, infographics, YouTube photos, animations and many more. Here we’ll cover some of the most important ones.
Video thumbnails are incredibly important. They are the first point of contact between the user and your videos. So obviously they have to entice the viewer, as well as hint as to what kind of video it is. No one likes clickbait, so make sure that your thumbnail isn’t misleading.
YouTube defaults the thumbnails to random screen grabs from the videos. This isn’t optimal for several reasons.
- Random screengrabs will probably be blurry, making it difficult to convey what the video is about.
- It looks unfinished and makes the creator look lazy and disinterested in their own content.
- It’s not memorable and could get confused with many other videos.
In the example below, we see Canva’s YouTube channel and how different genres of videos have different thumbnails. Canva’s channel is a treasure trove of YouTube graphic design ideas and tutorials.
The first group is all about inspiration and ideas for different design projects. It consists of very short videos, which serve as suggestions for undertaking a project.
The second group is all about tutorials for beginners. It has a total of 10 videos designed to teach the basics of Canva to a complete beginner. The tutorial videos are clearly differentiated by their bold colors and illustrations.
Of course, these are not the only playlists, but they perfectly illustrate a well-curated YouTube channel that gives its users a neat overview of its content.
The correct size for a video thumbnail is 1280x720 pixels. Keep in mind that the minimum width for a thumbnail is 640 pixels.
When you create channel graphics, you should also pay attention to fonts. YouTube channel logos often feature writing in some form, and picking the right font is key in creating a visually appealing channel page.
Graphics for YouTube videos
Graphics for YouTube videos are numerous in type and number. Whether it’s infographics, animation, YoutTube photos, or other kinds of visuals.
- Animation is the trickiest of those elements to get down, so when you ask ‘where do YouTubers get the fancy intro graphics’, know that they probably got some of the ready-made templates (there are hundreds of good ones), or they worked with a professional to make a custom made intro.
- Infographics are a useful tool for presenting data, especially for a dynamic medium like a YouTube video. There are great beginner-friendly programs for creating infographics, such as Easel.ly, which allows you to create awesome infographics in a flash.
- YouTube images help creators illustrate their points, whether it’s analyzing some aspects of a product, comparing two existing products or even showing photos from an event. Sometimes, videos feature screenshots from social media, or other websites.
- Text is also an important element of video visuals, especially for forms like video essays or deep dives. A lot of videos feature text, such as citations from scientific texts, studies or literary texts. To allow your viewers to follow the text on the screen, you must make sure that the font is legible, and that you leave the text on the screen for long enough.
With so many different routes on how to create YouTube graphics, you won’t have any problems coming up with fun and creative solutions.YouTube graphics need to reflect your channel’s ideas and aesthetics as well as augment your content.
Finding your voice as a creator isn’t always easy. And the competition for the goodwill of the almighty YouTube algorithm certainly doesn't make it easier. We hope this article helps you create the best videos possible and that you’re not left wondering about the question “where do YouTubers get the fancy intro graphics”.
I hold two degrees in history, and am currently working on a project of creating a digital library of Medieval manuscripts. I still like to have a foot in the 21st century though, so I write freelance about my other big passion, art and design. All Lord of the Rings references and puns I make are intentional.